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Long Island Teens Thought Confederate Flag, Blackface Were Somehow Acceptable

Four students at a Long Island Catholic school have been expelled this week for two separate, equally stupid racial incidents. It started with two senior boys, as it often does, who decided it would be cool to bring a confederate flag to a handball game in which one team was mostly white and the other mostly black. (Out of St. Anthony's 2,450 students, about 1,800 are white and 138 are black.) After they were suspended last week, punishment was bumped up to expulsion, and a letter went out to parents, two sophomore girls followed up by posting blackface photos and "racially inflammatory language" on social media. 


James Franco Calls Times Theater Critic a ‘Little Bitch’ and Suggests He Work for Gawker

New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley was not the biggest fan of the latest stage incarnation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which stars James Franco and Chris O'Dowd. And James Franco is not a fan of New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley, calling him a "little bitch" and suggesting an alternate job in an Instagram post that was later edited to remove the insult. Here is a screenshot of the orginal:

What part of the review could have gotten Franco so angry? »

Flight-Simulator Instructor Fired for ‘Shaming’ Canada on CNN

CNN's nonstop coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may not have generated much actual information about the missing airplane, but it did lead to one guy losing his job: uFly, the business that provided the flight simulator the network used to entertain countless theories about what happened to Flight 370, has fired instructor Mitchell Casado for humiliating his country and employer.

Casado's boss did not appreciate his casual look. »

Why the New Data Journalism Really Is Partisan

Four years ago, President Obama gathered leaders from both parties in a cavernous room in Blair House to undertake a televised debate-cum-negotiation over health-care policy. The reason for this unusual political theater was that political fervor had overwhelmed what was supposed to be a fundamentally technocratic process of designing programmatic changes to fulfill agreed-upon goals. This was the last, best attempt to redeem a basic promise of his candidacy — that the irrational elements of politics were unnecessary vestiges, that reason could drive out passion. In his opening remarks, one can see Obama’s once-certain conviction reduced to a wan hope:


Flight Delayed at JFK Over Twitter Bomb Threat

A 7:40 United flight from JFK to Washington Dulles had to be evacuated at the gate and searched by the FBI on Wednesday night after the airline noticed a 7:05 p.m. tweet reading, "There is a bomb on a United Airlines flight from JFK to Dulles." No explosives were found, and the flight took off two hours late. We sort of miss the days when people had to go to the effort of making a phone call to cause this kind of security issue.

How Do You Get People to Eat Crickets? It Might Help If They’re Kosher

Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz needed a creative solution: People aren’t exactly lining up to eat bugs, and bugs were what they were selling. Their company, Exo, had gotten a lot of buzz, but they were eager to get their protein bars — featuring live-frozen, oven-dried, ground crickets (yes, crickets, but organically fed ones) — beyond their current customer base of Paleo-diet devotees and really, really stoned college kids.

As the two recent Brown graduates met with prospective clients and funders, they stumbled onto a potential answer to their marketing woes: kosher certification. “When we went into it, we assumed that kosher food was very niche,” said Lewis. “But people from all walks of life were curious whether crickets in general, and our bars specifically, were kosher. We realized that even if you don't eat kosher, people value it as a marker of general quality.” In short, the commercial value of a kosher certification might be about a lot more than a sales spike at Passover.


Russia Deploys Edward Snowden Cameo at Vladimir Putin Propaganda Show

With NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia still technically temporary, he’s doing his best to fit in. Today, that included a special appearance — or bizarre PR stunt — during a televised Q&A with Vladimir Putin, in which Snowden served up a chance for Putin to tell the world that Russia doesn’t spy on its citizens like the big bad U.S. does. “I’ve seen little public discussion of Russia's policy of mass surveillance,” said Snowden. “So I'd like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze the communication of millions?”

Putin, it’s safe to say, was not caught off guard by the line of inquiry.


10 Ways Selfies Are Going Extreme

As if we needed any more proof that selfies are now mainstream, on Wednesday night Joe Biden christened his Instagram feed with a blurry and poorly lit photo of himself with President Obama. In the past few years selfies have gone from the bathroom mirror to the pages of Oxford Dictionaries (online, not the print edition), so those who want to remain on the forefront of social media trends have been forced to find increasingly edgy selfie scenarios. After Kim Kardashian's "belfie," taking a photo of your own rear end just isn't going to shock anyone. However, there are several types of extreme selfies that still provoke serious hand-wringing. Millennials may see the following as a guide to impressing their friends and horrifying the adults in their lives. If you're old (like, over 30), use this information to spice up your regular rants about kids these days.


Obama Called Cantor to Attack Him on Immigration, or Wish Him a Happy Passover

What started as routine bickering between President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has turned into a weird fight over holiday greetings. It started on Wednesday morning when the White House marked the one year anniversary of the Senate introducing a bipartisan immigration bill by chiding House Republicans for stalling on immigration reform. "Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform," said the statement. Cantor issued a sharply worded response, claiming that Obama called him to have a serious talk about immigration just "hours after he issued a partisan statement." However, the White House says the president was just calling to wish Cantor a happy Passover.


Man Makes Unbelievably Lazy Attempt to Smuggle Gun Past JFK Security

A Pennsylvania man is facing 25 years in prison after trying to pass through a security checkpoint at JFK Airport with a loaded handgun and brass knuckles. Even worse: Authorities say 55-year-old Richard Forti hid the gun in the pocket of a vest he placed in a tray and sent through the X-ray machine. At least the guy who hid cocaine in goat meat earlier this month was trying to keep airport officials on their toes.

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